Kiwi Style Vanilla Slice aka Custard Squares

To many Kiwis the custard square rates right up there with the Pavlova as a classic Kiwi icon.  Officially they’re derived from mille-feuille, which is French, and  you can get ‘vanilla slice’ and other similar things in Australia and other parts of the world, but it seems to me the custard square is a pretty iconic Kiwi treat available in tearooms that were everywhere long before cafes of espresso coffee.   Proudly sitting in the cabinet next to the Scones, Pikelets, Chocolate Caramel square, Fruit & nut loaf,  something with Pink icing, wedges of creamed Sponge Cake and Louise Cake there would be  a tray of custard squares.   Of course there was savoury food too such as Egg sandwiches, Devilled Eggs, Sausage rolls and Bacon & Egg slice.  
The Custard squares is a  bakery treat featuring a thick layer of custard sandwiched between two layers of flaky pastry and topped with vanilla icing  which has been a traditional favourite for generations.  They are best when the icing is creamy  and thick.  
There can be some technique involved in eating one, if the custard filling is too soft then when you bite into the pastry top and bottom, the custard squishes out the middle and ends up on your shirt – my mum suggests sucking the custard around the edges to prevent this.
This version is the no-bake, easy to make, commonly made, home style Kiwi Custard Square.
  • 18  Huntley and Palmers Cream Crackers (plain square water cracker biscuit)
  • ½ cup Edmonds Custard Powder
  • 2 ½ Cups milk
  • ½ cup Chelsea White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Gelatine (powder) – I add this as it sets the custard securely
  • ½ teaspoonVanilla essence
  • 2 Cups Chelsea Icing Sugar
  • 25 grams butter melted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Hot water (enough to make a thickish spreadable icing)

H&P Cream Cracker

  1. Use 9 square crackers to line a square Tupperware  ‘bake to basics sweet keeper’.  These will fit perfectly.
  2. Mix custard powder to a smooth paste with a little of the milk.
  3. Heat the rest of the milk then add the sugar and gelatine.
  4. With a wire whisk stir in the custard powder paste and continue to heat and stir until boiling and thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and add vanilla essence then pour custard over crackers.
  6. Top with remaining crackers, leave until cool, then refrigerate until quite cold and set.
  7. Combine icing sugar and butter with Hot water and mix until smooth & spreadable.
  8. Spread over cooled crackers after they set. Cut into squares when set.


Variations –

  • Ice with Chocolate or lemon flavoured Icing
  • Replace Hot Water with Passionfruit pulp
  • Dust with Icing Sugar
  • Sprinkle with Coconut

Custard Slice

Coming soon to The Manuka Cafe, Grand Avenue, Forest Lake, Brisbane


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